Our Pastor’s Message
Share the Light!
By Father Jim
One of my favorite things about being a priest is the celebration of the Sacrament of Bap- tism. Each year, I am blessed to baptize dozens of children (and even a few adults) and to welcome them into God’s family as fellow disciples. During the Rite of Baptism, a simple candle is presented to every family. After it is lit from the Paschal Candle, the priest or deacon says: “Receive the Light of Christ. Parents and Godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. These children have been enlightened by Christ. They are to walk always as children of the light. May they keep the flame of faith alive in their hearts. When the Lord comes, may they go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.” With these prayerful words, a simple candle takes on powerful significance!
The baptismal candle can serve as an ongoing reminder of a child’s baptism. Some families briefly light the candle on the anniversary of their child’s (or godchild’s) baptism in commemoration of their “spiritual birthday.” In this way, the candle can remind us to call them on the anniversary of their baptism, to encourage them with love along the way of life, and to pray for them each and every day of their lives. The baptismal candle can also serve to remind us as parents, grandparents, and godparents that it is our ultimate responsibility, first and foremost, to teach our children about God’s commandments, his boundless love and mercy, and the teachings and traditions of the Church.
Of course, a newborn infant or toddler will not remember their baptism or the celebrations that might accompany that special day. So, the baptismal candle and its importance are intended primarily for all of us. Because its light comes from the Paschal Candle (lit with great solemnity at the Easter Vigil), we are called to remember that it represents the Risen Lord’s ultimate triumph over suffering and death. We are called to remember that with our baptism, we are permanently marked as a child of God and as a member of God’s family. We are called to remember that with our baptism, we are welcomed into a community of believers that stretches back to the first disciples who knew Jesus and first believed in his resurrection. And we are called to remember that with our baptism, we are forever linked with these disciples and with every believer who followed them—including our deceased friends and family members who rest in peace in anticipation of their own resurrection.
Along with these rich spiritual and theological realities comes the great responsibility to share it with others. When the priest or deacon says “Receive the Light of Christ” during the Rite of Baptism, we should remember that the gift does not end with us. The Lord commands us to share his divine light throughout our lives with families and friends, with colleagues and neighbors, and with everyone we meet along the way. In an Easter Vigil Homily, Pope Francis once said: “We are called to behave as children of light…The Sacrament of Baptism, in fact, demands a choice, firm and resolute, to live as children of light, to walk in the light…and to abandon the false lights of prejudice against others and our own self-interest.” As always, the Holy Father encourages us to set aside the darkness of anger, envy, greed, and harsh judgment; and to choose instead the bright lights of mercy, generosity, and love for our brothers and sisters. As we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord and renew our own baptismal promises, let us share the light of Christ with the whole world!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Note: Father Jim wishes to thank our good friend, Jody Cole, for giving permission to use her beautiful icon of the Baptism of the Lord on our website and newsletter cover. For more information about this talented iconographer, please visit jcoleicons.com.
Brain Teasing Special Event
Trivia Night with Father Jim
Saturday, January 19th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us for a brain-teasing, mind-blowing, and fast-paced special event: “Trivia Night with Father Jim” on Saturday, January 19th from 7:00pm until 10:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish Hall. Throughout the evening, Father Jim (who is secretly a quiz master and aspiring game show host) will ask a series of questions on a wide array of topics ranging from music and sports, movies and television, books and history, religion and good, old-fashioned trivia.
Tickets are $20 per person. Participants will be organized into teams of eight, so all are welcome to organize a team in advance or take your chances at the door! Tickets will be available at the door, in our parish office, or by contacting Father Jim. All are invited to bring food and snacks. Coffee, tea, bottled water, and soft drinks will be offered for sale (along with a cash bar). Father Jim promises cool prizes and raffles, too!
Don’t miss this chance to impress your friends and neighbors with your knowledge of facts, figures, and trivia! Don’t miss this chance to share a few laughs with family and fellow parishioners! Don’t miss your chance to win a great prize! And don’t miss this chance to raise somemuch needed funds for Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Vigil of Prayer
The Conversion of Saint Paul
Friday, January 25th
More than eight centuries ago, the Crucified Christ called out to the young man who would become Saint Francis of Assisi: “Go! Rebuild my church which as you can see is falling into ruin!” Francis took the Lord’s command literally and set out to repair and rebuild small chapels in and around his hometown. Over the years, however, Saint Francis came to understand that his commitment to living the Gospel and sharing God’s love was instrumental in rebuilding and repairing the Catholic Church throughout the world.
In this spirit and in appreciation for the crisis facing the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will gather on important feast days over the course of this new year to pray for the healing of God’s family and for the courage to rebuild the Church. In addition, we will ask the saints to pray for us and guide us in the hard work of discipleship during these difficult times.
All are invited to join us for our first Vigil for the Healing of God’s Family on Friday, January 25th, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, from 5:00pm until 7:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. We hope that you and your family will be able to join us for all or even just part of this special event of prayer and devotion.
Our Vigil of Prayer will begin at 5:00pm with Evening Prayer and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. During Evening Prayer, Father Jim will deliver a reflection about the life and message of Saint Paul the Apostle. After a holy hour of silent adoration, we will pray the Holy Rosary 6:30pm for the healing of God’s family throughout our divided country, our wounded church, and our suffering world. We will conclude at 7:00pm with Night Prayer and Benediction. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Saint Paul, pray for us!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Available at Both Parishes
Electronic giving is available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is easy, simple, and safe to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Donations can be made on a one-time-only or ongoing basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. Just choose the appropriate link below and click “Make a Donation.” Please prayerfully consider supporting your parish by giving electronically! For more information about electronic giving in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please see Father Jim or contact Melissa Unis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous support!
Winter Weather Cancellations
For the latest information about weather related cancellations during the winter months in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please visit our website at ccgronline.com. Announcements will also be made on WBZ1030-AM and cbsboston.com. All parishioners should note that if public schools are closed on a particu- lar weekday due to inclement weather, then our daily Mass and all adult and youth faith formation programs will be cancelled on that day, too. Peace and blessings to all for a safe winter season! — Father Jim
Established in 2014, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is a collaborative of two historic parishes: Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Working together as a Roman Catholic community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, we are committed to living the Gospel of Christ, sharing God’s love and mercy with all people, and rebuilding the Church in Gloucester & Rockport. All are invited! All are welcome! Always!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline